Maritime News

Texas A&M Celebrates Cutting of the Steel for NSMV Lone Star State

Texas A&M University at Galveston, the Texas A&M Maritime Academy, TOTE Services, LLC and Philly Shipyard, Inc. celebrated the cutting of steel for the fourth National Security Multi-Mission Vessel (NSMV) on January 18, destined for the Texas A&M Maritime Academy in Galveston, Texas in 2025.

This event marks another major construction milestone for the U.S. Department of Transportation Maritime Administration’s (MARAD) NSMV program, designed to provide a purpose-built, state-of-the-art training platform to replace the aging fleet of training ships currently used by the six state maritime academies in the United States. These vessels also serve as a disaster response resource during humanitarian efforts.

“What I have witnessed is a remarkable, coordinated effort by all six of the state maritime academies to relentlessly press forward to engage our congressional delegations, alumni, and regional stakeholders to get us here today,” said Col. Michael E. Fossum, vice president of Texas A&M University, chief operating officer of the Galveston Campus and superintendent of the Texas A&M Maritime Academy. “I am personally grateful to the president of Texas A&M University, the chancellor of the Texas A&M University System, and the board of regents for making this their top priority and not giving up until we were successful.”

Congress approved $325 million in funding to construct the NSMV in Dec. 2020. The 524-foot state-of-the-art ship represents a significant investment by the federal government in supporting the future of the maritime industry and future merchant mariners in Texas. The vessels have numerous training spaces that can support up to 600 cadets at sea and include critical disaster response capabilities in the Gulf of Mexico.

“Texas’ maritime industry provides billions in economic support to the state and ensures rapid response capabilities in one of the most hurricane-prone regions in the United States,” said John Sharp, chancellor of The Texas A&M University System. “This vessel is an essential resource for supporting those efforts. We are grateful to the Texas congressional delegation, state elected officials, former students and industry leaders for their support.”

Each year over 300 Texas A&M Maritime Academy cadets live, work, learn and train alongside one another during a two-month summer sea term that provides hands-on at-sea training and instruction. Cadets currently train aboard Massachusetts State Maritime Academy’s training ship, Kennedy, through a ship-sharing agreement with MARAD established in 2018. The Kennedy is expected to transfer to the Texas A&M Maritime Academy this year to serve in place of the Lone Star State until it arrives in 2025.

The academy’s previous training vessel, Texas Clipper II, was reassigned in 2005 by the federal government after serving in disaster response efforts for Hurricanes Katrina and Rita. The General Rudder, a 224-foot training vessel with a maximum capacity of 50 cadets, is currently docked at campus and provides supplemental training year-round.

State academy training vessels are federally owned and available to support federal response efforts to national and international disasters. The Lone Star State is the fourth in a series of five NSMVs. The first three were assigned to the State University of New York Maritime Academy, Massachusetts Maritime Academy and Maine Maritime Academy. Philly Shipyard holds the exclusive contract for the five-ship deal.

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